Monday, December 10, 2012
Week 68 (December 10th, 2012)
This debut album from Canadian two-piece WILT is just as you might expect. It's cold, atmospheric and quite grim to say the very least. Although there are occasional (and I do mean occasional) melodies thrown about on the record, they only seem to be there so that the crushing blow of melancholy doesn't hurt so much. The band takes cues from several other bands like WINTERFYLLETH, ALTAR OF PLAGUES, WOODS OF YPRES, NACHTMYSTIUM and the like, but these two gentlemen don't dare try to sound too much like any of these bands and keep their own unique sense of darkness. But don't be mistaken, as this sort of music makes the blast-beat laden Satanic black metal of bands such as GORGOROTH, WATAIN, 1349, OLD MAN'S CHILD, DEATHSPELL OMEGA and others seem quite warm and joyous in retrospect. With those bands, one can at least bang their head happily and throw up horns, but with these gentlemen; it's much colder and not in the frostbitten sense. This is the sound of isolation, despair and hopelessness. Imagine it as the kind of music that might play in one's head while surveying the damage caused in the aftermath of a major natural disaster. The band's moniker of WILT matches their sound perfectly, and might make the depressed feel even worse than they were before they heard the album. But if you think that you can stomach a bellyful of Canadian sorrow, then this is probably the record that you're looking for. As far as the rest of us are concerned, there are plenty of warmer albums out there with which to vent out your rage and frustration.
Dragged Into Sunlight - Widowmaker (2012) - I think I'll begin this with a famous line from former astronaut Neil Armstrong. "Houston, we have a problem." And this problem in question does not reflect that this is necessarily a bad album, because it's climax is full of piss and vinegar; but the fact that this disc takes so long to get to a point of interest. "Part I 14:51" is far too long, and even if the drone riffs and soundscapes help to make an atmosphere, they definitely don't make a very good one. It's just boring, for damn near fifteen minutes of the album and you'd be better off skipping this "introduction" entirely. Think of it as the opening credits of a film that you'd more or less rather fast-forward through.
The meat of the album begins with "Part II 11:48" which is probably what most of you were expecting this album to sound like from first play, and in many ways, that's how it should have sounded to begin with. "Part II" gives us all that we'd expect from this band - be it the doom, gloom, death and slight bits of melody all wrapped in a blanket of dirty, filthy, grimy fucking sludge. The thick oily shit that you were begging to hear all along. Yes, it's a bit raw still; but you and I both know that we'd have it no other way.
Then comes "Part III 13:10" which sounds like a much slower version of the second part of the disc, until it's given the ability later in the track (after some needless drone atmospherics) to thrash around a bit and cause hell through even more of these senseless little drone tracks. Though I am hearing some truly great material right near the end of this piece, there's an ADD sensation that might anger some folks who expected to bang their head relentlessly. Yes, acoustics do show up - some melodic acoustics and odd riff styles that experiment and enhance the sound.
But here's my take on this disc. The bottom line (and I mean, the very bottom line) is that Dragged Into Sunlight knew without a doubt that they could not top (or would not dare to try to top) or remake their last album. Despite that it was a sort of cult classic in some underground metal circles, and certainly one of this reviewer's favorites - the band knew that they had to forge along a different path, which is exactly what they did here. They played with drone and atmospheres and acoustics that previously were alien to them, (at least as far as I know) and this became of it. If you don't like it, there will always be Hatred For Mankind, but for some of the more adventurous, there will be this album. Granted, I still think of it as a sort of disturbing movie with the first part being the opening, the second the actual film, and the final part the end credits. Just as not everyone likes a certain film, not everyone will love this "film" either. But if you'll hear anything from Widowmaker, at least check out the main film itself (Part II) and you'll find some worthy aggression. While Dragged Into Sunlight haven't quite lost their edge, they certainly might lose a few with this sucker punch that none of us particularly saw coming.
Highlights: Part II (3 Tracks, 39:00)
Eryn Non Dae - Meliora (2012) - The new album from Eryn Non Dae is quite different from the last record, but it still has some semblance of the old material. There are still some blackened tinges, but the post metal and core influences still play a large role in the album. If anything can be said about this album, it's that the skinsman is really fucking good. Take just the first track, "Chrysalis 8:54" and listen to those drums pop. That is how you fucking play the kit, folks. I can't even think what this band would sound like without a drummer like that. This guy not only keeps the boat afloat, he also holds it together. Like the band I previously reviewed, this band has also decided to add more atmospheric influence to their music, and for them the result is much different - it actually enhances the impact of the album.
I'm also going to bring up "Ignitus 5:37" which really has some unprecedented technicality and musicianship. Again, listen to those drums pop. Then listen to the djenty leads. Yeah, that works. It's a bit jaunty, but it's sort of fun in a sense. For the most part, many of these songs carry the same vibe and aren't necessarily that much different from each other. The frontman carries forth his angry grunts throughout each and every song of the album, much in the vein of several other post-hardcore vocalists. The atmosphere of the disc is very much like that of mid-era Neurosis, as you can clearly tell that they were going for that vibe on this one. It's certainly not bad, but I'm not so sure if it can stand up to other heavy hitters in this vein, like the latest Yakuza album.
It's certainly worth checking out, but I'm not so sure how many times you'll spin this one. The drummer's a madman, a technical genius - but everything else seems like we've heard it before and the djent doesn't help much, because it seems as if EVERYONE in metal is now doing that. I'm starting to wonder if Meshuggah regrets introducing that sound into the metal scene and then into the mainstream, when all those who watched The Osbournes on MTV first heard Jack Osbourne playing the band's music and then name-dropping them, sending thousands upon thousands of metalheads onto the internet to pillage and plunder the band's discography.
But this isn't about djent or Meshuggah. That's another reason why I feel it was necessary for this post-metal band. However, I'm sure that there will be fans to embrace the djenty moments of this atmospheric post-metal barrage, and more power to them. As for me, it's another lap around the same fucking track with some bells and whistles.
Highlights: Chrysalis, The Great Downfall, Ignitus, Black Obsidian Pyre
Rings Of Saturn - Dingir (2013) - I have no idea what's going on with this band or this album. This shit wasn't supposed to come out until next year, but apparently it leaked and they just decided to give it away? At any rate, people have been praising these guys as the saviors of deathcore. Whatever that might mean to some of you. But to others, it means that there's actually good musicianship on the disc. Which there most certainly is. Dubbed "Aliencore" I can certainly see how this otherworldy mess got it's name and I'd have to humbly agree that this thing is a fucking monster.
First of all, I'm convinced that whoever is fucking playing the melodies is not from this world. Check his eyes, he might be one of David Icke's lizard people and this is an attempt to brainwash us all into enslavement through these incredible and inhuman melodies. But all joking aside, this is the kind of material that really sounds like it took a fucking long time to make. Or a hell of a lot of "artificial influence." This hasn't even come out yet, and it's probably going to be the best deathcore album of next year.
Who knows, maybe the band were literally worried about the Mayan apocalypse and thought it was best to get this material out early, because they would rather people hear it now, instead of never. But even if that were to happen, that would really suck for the whole of humanity, not to mention the metalheads. Hypocrisy, Suffocation, Septic Flesh, and a slew of other releases are coming out next year and it would be a damn shame if a bunch of ancient Indians were right and we all got wiped the fuck out before any of those releases could be heard. Not to mention the bands, who worked their asses off on creating them and all for naught. Even if Cthulhu decided to rise from the abyss.
Speaking of Cthulhu, that's exactly the kind of spatial vibe I get from this one, when it isn't playing the deathcore game. You know what deathcore game I'm talking about. The same one that a few of these songs choose to take, like "Shards of Scorched Flesh 3:08" and "Dingir 3:35." Any deathcore band could've made these tracks, and only when "Faces Imploding 5:50" comes into play, does the magic return. After that, the band plays with deathcore until about the latter half of each track when something else is actually done on the album. I know that deathcore has a certain sound and style, and I do like it - but when band A's style sounds like band B,C, D, E, F, and many others with next to no discernible difference; I'm left at a standstill. If not for "Immaculate Order 4:36" and the BREATHTAKING closer that makes me think that this band should just do instrumentals, "Utopia 5:26" I would probably not be as entirely impressed with the latter of this disc as I was with it's first couple of tracks.
But honestly, when I hear majesty like "Utopia" I think to myself, "This band is capable of myriads more than what they're showing here." I mean, think about this - the frontman might be able to ploddle along to the deathcore tracks, but could he really put vocals on something like Utopia? No. Because that takes a seasoned kind of vocalist, someone who can analyze every note and melody to see where a vocal line could fit. But that's what I'd like to hear from this band, more tracks in the style of "Utopia" that break away from the blandness of deathcore bands A, B, C and so-on. Granted there are some wonderful and quite amazing things being offered on the release, but perhaps it's my odd mind that wants even more. Maybe it's the fact that I want more melody, and less crunch. One can "crunch, crunch, crunch" with growls and screams all day long, but the band shows that they matter both in the beginning and at the very end of this album. It's like a sandwich with delicious bread, but cardboard bologna.
But it's still better than the last one, and has more going for it than the last BTBAM, which I think was overrated. But the last Faceless? No, not a chance. But with time, perhaps... Still, I think that one was a fluke.
Highlights: Galactic Cleansing, Faces Imploding, Immaculate Order, Utopia
(10 Tracks, 41:00)
Isis - Temporal (2012) - Isis decided to do what many bands still haven't done yet, (even though it's painfully obvious that their work is done and is being horribly retread) and split. What would a follow up to Wavering Radiant sound like? Well, it's obvious that it wouldn't have been that great, since the band decided that their work was done. But they've left us with some great gifts to remember them by, like some demo (and alternate demo) versions of songs from that last album, as well as some old favorites; a cover of "Streetcleaner 5:47" and "Hand Of Doom 8:41" which are both done nicely and in the band's native style, two remixes, three unreleased tracks "Temporal 2:05", Way Through Woven Branches 6:26" and "Pliable Foe 7:46" and an acoustic version of "20 Minutes, 40 Years 7:43." But just as another reviewer noted, the true icing on the cake is the "Grey Divide 16:36" demo, which has everything that we would've expected from the band and more, just without vocals.
Without getting into too much detail, because this release is truly massive - I would certainly recommend to fans of the band as a last hurrah. This is all that you're going to get from a post metal group that's been around for a damn good while, so you'd better enjoy it. It's presented well enough, I mean as well as demos can be, and even though it's cast-off and beta material, it's still worth checking out. Some of this stuff works better when it's instrumental and I'm not too sad to say that most of the material you're getting will be without vocals.
But it's a good compendium of all that was, and will ever be, the band once known as Isis. They've since gone their separate ways to pursue other areas, (some of them are just playing in different bands now) and we should be thankful for the gift that they gave us. Because the music always fucking remains. Even if all these guys keeled off tomorrow, we'd still have the tunes.
And in the end, that's all that matters.
(14 Tracks, 112:00)
Hypno5e - Acid Mist Tomorrow (2012) - The experimental metal of Hypno5e is well worth checking out, even though some of you have probably never heard of them before. On this large and djent-filled offering, the band is taking the over-used element to heights that it's never gone to before. These guys have no problem mixing soft acoustics and thundering time signatures together, the whole experience leaving sort of a mysterious and truly unique feel that I would recommend experiencing at least once. Song structures and prog elements play a huge role in this album as well, one might say that these gentlemen are undiscovered geniuses at it, despite the frontman's harsh vocal style that comes off as more of a scream then the manly growls that some of us might want to hear from him. Though these guys are French (and so are their soundclips) the lyrics are surprisingly in English.
In total there are five songs on the album, but some of them are broken into several parts, such as "Gehenne" which is broken down into three separate portions. Nonetheless, the five tracks are at the shortest "Six Fingers In One Hand She Holds The Dawn" with both parts adding up to 8:00 of playtime. And that's the shortest track. yet it will soon come apparent to you that the band utilizes their time on these tracks wisely, as these guys use several different means to create atmospheres within each and every track, trying their best to differentiate from every other band on the planet earth who uses djent and time signatures. You'll hear several "interesting" things from time to time, and I won't say what exactly because that would spoil the surprise that this release will deliver into your ears. It is something that you have to soak in, maybe through a couple of listens; though the drums will still manage to imprint themselves into your brain on the first listen. As I've said, there is a lot of talent coursing through Hypno5e's veins, and the sheer technicality and musicianship will send some of you flying, wondering why "you hadn't listened to this one sooner." And I blame myself for that, because this has been out for a good while now, and I've just gotten to it. It is a very tough album to review, a very thick release that speaks for itself. I can fill up this entire page with words, but it still won't prepare you for the artistic display that you'll witness here.
However, I can say that with all honesty, these guys feature a lot of acoustics and clean vocals in addition to the heavier parts of the songs, so if you don't like your music getting all of a sudden lighter and more melodic, you probably won't be able to get into this act. But I still recommend it, because this is what abstract art sounds like in a slightly extreme form. I was fortunate enough to hear the older release from this band as well, and I can say that they've improved considerably and the production value of the disc is much better here as well.
If you're still on the fence, go check out something from Youtube. Any one song should suffice enough.
Highlights: Acid Mist Tomorrow, Six Fingers In One Hand She Holds The Dawn Pt. II, Story Of The Eye, Brum Unique Obscurite (Pts I & II) (9 Tracks, 53:00)
Deftones - Koi No Yokan (2012) - Revolver's Album Of The Year this year, is much fucking better than what they chose last year (Korn & Skrillex) so I'm glad they don't have their heads up their asses this time. And I'm gonna agree with them, Koi No Yokan is a fucking masterpiece and it's well worth checking out for any one who's cast off the Deftones long ago. This stuff is right up there with Around The Fur or White Pony easily, but doesn't have the bark that some of the material on Diamond Eyes had. Koi No Yokan is a masterpiece of melody, it's one of those albums that you just have to listen to in it's entirety, as it has the ability to truly be a hypnotic transportation device. I was listening to this record at work while on Black Friday, and could not have picked a better calm to assist to me on such a busy fucking day as that one was (a day that started at 4:00 AM BTW.) But as I've implied, the album made me feel like I was operating from another plane. Tracks like the amazing opener "Swerve City 2:45" which seems to be about astral projection, are absolutely monumental for the band. This is an album where the cover spells out the experience. Look at the art closely, and besides the stars (which obviously signify man separated from the physical plane) you'll also notice candles, which are commonly lit in ritual or during an induced AP. The red floor on the cover is seemingly floating/transparent as well, furthering my belief that the album through it's riffs, melodies, structures and Chino's vocal tones; is meant to be a transcendental piece.
Not only that, many of the songs seem to go together despite the heavier "Poltergeist 3:31" and "Entombed 4:59" which comes right after it. As I've said, each track "flows" into the next, creating an experience uncanny for most discs. The band does plenty of experimenting on this one, and some damn near god-like stuff that you just have to hear. This disc isn't about huge guitar solos or punchy riffs, it's as I've said for the fifteenth time - getting your ass off this physical plane. Chino said that he had no idea what in the hell most of the lyrics on the disc even mean, the words just "come to him" during the recording process and after listening back to the songs, he discovers what they're about.
Without going to far into another paragraph, I'll just say that this is definitely one of the best metal/hard rock albums that you'll hear this year, and even if they are playing some of this stuff on the radio; those people should be thankful that they're actually hearing real music and not "hook" "hook" "hook" rock like Nonpoint. This is how real rock music is made, and I most certainly recommend that you get this into your ears as soon as possible. If you've been putting it back, wait no longer to take this journey. It's a experience that's worth it's weight in gold, and I'm convinced that some of this has it's roots in the melodies of the astral plane, quite like "Bath" and "Leaving Your Body Map" from Maudlin Of The Well.
Don't let this one pass by your ears. It's a metaphysical masterpiece.
Highlights: All (I highly recommend the experience be listened to as a whole and most importantly, directly into your ears - I don't feel that speakers alone transmit the experience into your brainwaves as well as earbuds or headphones.)
(11 Tracks, 51:00)
Converge - All We Love, We Leave Behind (2012) - Decibel's Album Of The Year is a much different beast (though Koi No Yokan was honorably mentioned) in the form of experimental post-hardcore band Converge. Apparently, Decibel staffers have been wearing this thing out, and consider it one of the best releases since Jane Doe, which they called album of the decade. (Really? I didn't like it that much.)
First of all, Converge has never been my cup of tea; but this album sees the band definitely experimenting around a bit, especially with that opener "Aimless Arrow 2:23." but don't worry, as you'll soon be thrown forth into chaos with the next track "Trespasses 2:43." You know, if there's one thing that Converge manage to do with this album, it's to take a track that's not even a minute and thirty (Tender Abuse 1:25) and give it some well needed structure.
Even though I'm not (and never will be) a huge fan of this band, I can still appreciate the odd riff melodies on "Sadness Comes Home 3:12" a track that manages to mix some sludge moments with a rock solo. This one was in many ways, "an anything goes" sort of album; where you can expect to hear something different on each and every track. Listen tot he militaristic drum marches on "Empty On The Inside 2:29" coupled with a much different vocal approach that you'd expect from the band.
"Sparrow's Fall 1:27" gives us as much ferocity as can be had in less than a minute and thirty (what is with these guys and these less than 1:30 tracks?) but "A Glacial Pace 4:27" the longest track on the disc, sounds altogether different. You don't really expect to hear ethereal atmospheres on this one, but they're there. Of course, looking at the album cover; it's almost something you might expect. Whatever the case, the track kills. "Vicious Muse 1:52" comes in next, with the sort of style that "Trespasses" had, just a little slower. "Veins & Veils 2:32" however sounds like a completely different song with a mysterious quality that explodes into some drum-play that sounds like it'd be fun to try out on a kit. Then the song erupts and doesn't really do anything new, other than the drumming.
"Coral Blue 4:48" slows things down a bit and adds melody, as well as clean vocals with some clean and sung vocals. It shows maturation for the band, and I'm glad that they show that they can do more than just the same extreme shtick. Not once does this song envelop into the bludgeoning thrash of "Trespasses" and I'm glad for that, because that shit is too common for these guys. I'd hate to be known for being in a band that has done "that style" for most of their career. Nonetheless, "Shame In The Way 1:59" continues the same style that we've expected from the band and I guess there are those people who only want to hear the frantic screaming stuff because it makes them feel better, and it's certainly better than killing a fellow and going to jail for it.
After that bit of fury, the band returns to atmosphere with "Precipice 1:47" which has a sort of robotic edge to it, and the background melody makes me think it would perfectly fit the score of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi film. Then we have the title track, "All We Love, We Leave Behind 4:06" which really comes in as a masterpiece no matter how you slice it. I love the melodies and drum work on this one, the post-metal influences are only helping to strengthen the band. I actually had a chance to see this band live, but wasn't able to. Which was a shame, because I would have loved to see how this one translated on stage.
The last track on the album is the slower "Predatory Glow 3:25" and I think I only like it because it has the feeling of post-metal and not the punky atmosphere that some of the tracks on this one have had. It's certainly extreme, but is another great attempt to show that this band can do much more than what they did on Jane Doe. All in all, I'm quite satisfied with many of the songs on this album, but I wouldn't consider it the best album of the year; by any means. It's definitely worth checking out, but just liked I never care for the films with an Oscar buzz; I never really care that much for the albums that get praised by magazines. There are exceptions like the Deftones disc of course; but I think I've heard better underground and unsigned releases this year and would encourage all of my readers to check out those bands, because they are the future of metal music.
Nonetheless, this album was much better than I had expected. And this is coming from a person who never really cared much for the band in the first place.
Highlights: Trespasses, Sadness Comes Home, Empty On The Inside, A Glacial Pace, Coral Blue, Precipice, All We Love We Leave Behind, Predatory Glow
(14 Tracks, 38:00)
Denial Of God - Death And The Beyond (2012) - I'm not quite sure why these guys are classified as black metal, because I wouldn't consider them that. But when I checked the genre description in Windows Media, that's what it said. At any rate, these guys are what I would consider to be a type of extreme horror metal, far removed from any notions of Dani Filth and his poetic Goth troupe. Perhaps the intro "Veni Spiritus 2:07" serves as noting more than a short appetizer, maybe something of atmosphere, but the foreboding thunder of "Funeral 6:35" is where the meat of this album starts. Eerie melodies and ghastly vocals open up what is probably one of my favorite horror tracks of the year. There's no way that you can possibly tell me that after hearing that track once, that you'll not want to go back and play it one more time.
Alright, now some black metal influence comes into play with "Behind The Coffin's Lid 9:08" but I'm a little muddled by this opening riff. Sounds a little happy, like some kind of J-Pop melody. The lyrics are quite diabolic however, and there's a good chorus melody that adds just a little bit of terror to this quite jaunty track with lyrics about being buried. I guess if you're happy to die, maybe this one will work for you. But there's no denying the great vocal performance on this one. Whoever the fuck this guy is, he's certainly one of my favorite vocalists in the genre. The second part of the song is mesmerizing, there's just not much I can say about how well the concept here is illustrated. Then you've got some absolutely wonderful fucking melodies coming in right after that, with the drums joining in and just making what I would call "classic." I mean classic as Venom's early material "classic." Old heads should certainly appreciate this one.
"The Cursed Chamber 8:10" begins with atmosphere and chant, which opens into guitar melody backed with synths. The song eventually becomes a sort of blackened thrash with some classic era drumming and an atmosphere that is only enhanced by the vocals of the cursed mummy. Yes, it's about a mummy - I guess this album would go perfect with a round of Castlevania Fighter; but at any rate the song is done right and reaches it's climax in black metal.
"Bones Turn To Dust 8:55" is a much slower track with the same melodies you're expecting from the band at this point, but once again there's something to be said for the frontman. He really brings "life" to these tracks, and while not plowing you with vocal, he sprinkles it where needed. One thing I really like about these guys is that there telling stories, perhaps horror stories; the instruments serve as a background for the frontman, who is more or less the storyteller. Frankly, there aren't enough bands who do this anymore. Some people feel that stories should be told to them through the pages of books, or perhaps through the frames of film - but I like the fact that this band and Carach Angren are using the grim nature of black metal to tell horror stories. Despite the fact that Carach Angren's effort wasn't even noticed by critics ( What the hell? Are you idiots deaf?) and this album will be probably be passed right over (not surprisingly, since everyone loves core and djent so much) because it's not what people want; the fact that these guys are essentially "grim bards of the age" is something that at least makes me fucking happy.
"Black Dethe 9:36" will however give you much more of a black metal experience, with blasting drums and trademark scowl vocals backed with the same sort of melodies we've heard throughout the album (even though yes, those are good melodies.) The song slows but keeps the same doom-laden style that we do hear in many parts of this disc, (it would actually do well to classify these guys as a sort of blackened doom) with the melodies ever peppering the track, along with the vocals. As you can expect, drums increase in fury towards the end of the track.
The final track on this disc is a damn near 20 minute epic called "Spectral Lights/Pendulum Swings 16:21" which opens with piano and ghosts telling you "Get Out!" and laughing. They seem to be not quite happy with your presence, so perhaps you should stop reading this review and go onto the next... Oh, right. Ill Nino. Yeah, I guess I see your point.
Anyway, the song starts out light, but goes into blackened thrash for a minute, before synths and violin come in with what sounds like a music box and then we hear "The ceiling is covered in cobwebs!" which ultimately makes me think of the feeling of being in a haunted house. Once again, the frontman tells a wonderful tale of horror and the instruments illustrate it perfectly. When the doom comes in, it's painfully obvious that you just can't tell this tale any other way. The music box echoes through the track and listen to those end riffs, they breathe horror. The song begins to go back into a black metal onslaught.
Denial Of God aren't just worth checking out, they're essential. I've seen these guys interviewed once in Decibel, and that was just a short paragraph. Perhaps I'll try for an interview with them in the future, but for now that's uncertain. At any rate, I'd like to do something to get the word out about these guys that I've never fucking heard of until a friend told me about them and I found their album eventually in the same place that many of us who can't find albums anywhere else look. At any rate, go listen to this now. I won't tell you again. Definitely one of the best albums of the year, despite the fact that magazines don't seem to think so. But that's due to everything going fucking corporate these days. Good shit goes unheard, unseen, unread, unplayed, and it just fucking sits there to rot in a tomb, forever...
Highlights: The Album (7 Tracks, 60:00)
Ill Nino - Epidemia (2012) - Here we are once again to Mexico's Ill Nino. This album actually makes me glad that Brujeria are working on another album, because this disc doesn't show too much merit. Besides that, the new disc from The Agony Lords (Review coming shortly) devours this one whole. But let's briefly (and I do mean briefly) discuss the disc.
For the most part, the band incorporates some heavier riffs along with the same Latin percussion along with the same clean vocal choruses that we've heard ten thousand times already. There is a decent growl attempted on this one, but lets be honest, this isn't and will never be death metal. One of the only tracks on this disc that actually stands out on this disc is the hard-hitting "La Epidemia 3:10" which might be one of the heaviest tracks in the band's career. There's no clean vocal chorus on that one either. But at any rate, the band has gotten better after all these years and there are some interesting musical structures on this one. Though there are many of those melodic choruses, things were done on this one that makes the songs sound less like "verse/chorus." But it's still a modern metal album.
Then we've got "Death Wants More 3:55" which is your heavy ballad. Even though they have a screamer and a growler that work hand in hand on this disc trying to give the band an extreme metal edge, it's not really giving me the feel of extreme metal. Oh, wait. There's an even lighter heavy chorus on "Time Won't Save You 4:49." Wow. "Forgive Me Father... 3:28" is the exact same type of ballad. Then there's the closer "Invisible People 3:58" which really tries to be an extreme metal song, but just winds up being modern metal shtick.
This thirty-seven minutes is pretty much the same crap we've been used to by now. Which brings me to the point. Who's been buying these albums? I myself bought Confession back in 2002, and I liked it for the time, but then they released several more albums after, all of them being round-about the same. This disc does feature some heavier attempts, but it just keeps giving me the feeling that Ill Nino wants to be both an extreme metal band and appeal to fans of hard rock as well, and you really can't do that. We don't need clean vocal choruses in almost every song and three or four ballads right near the end of the disc. Despite their popularity, (and whoever's been buying these discs) we all know that there are much better Mexican metal bands that actually classify as extreme metal, and just wait until I have that review up for the new album from The Agony Lords, as that band is definitely one of that country's finer exports (aside from Marijuana of course.)
Highlights: La Epidemia (10 Tracks, 37:00)
De Magia Veterum - The Deification (2012) - And here's another disc from the band that literally made me sick to my stomach. No, that's not because it was a bad release, but because the music literally had a nauseating sort of quality. It's the way that it's played really, that seemed to upset my stomach somehow. But this disc sees the band doing the same thing, producing black metal that sounds like it was recorded inside of a fucking vortex. Every time I play this stuff, I feel like I'm spinning in circles, and this style continues until a point in "Passage 5:26" where atmosphere and sound clips momentarily break up the chaos.
Things get even more chaotic on "Evoked In Poison 4:25" where it sounds like they got whatever inter-dimensional creature that they summoned while creating this unholy racket to guest on vocals. And things just keep getting more chaotic. Even though this album has breaks, they are short and sweet and may prevent you from losing your lunch. This album is the equivalent of being on a black metal roller coaster - it's fast, loud, and all over the fucking place. Imagine if a black metal band just took everything and decided to mix it all together into a sort of soup. Yes, it does sound like you're traveling in a vortex, but it also makes me think that I would end up throwing up everything I've eaten in the past few hours if I was ever given the chance to hop into one. And then on the closer "The Deification 3:48" they use this eardrum piercing noise that only harms the listener further.
I'm not sure if you can call it music. This is the equivalent of everything playing different melodies all at once and at times matching up. Imagine if you got together with your band members one day and said "Alright guys, just start playing music. It doesn't matter what, just whatever the hell you want and well throw it all together and record it."
In the end, it just winds up sounding like noise. De Magia Veterum are good at what they do, that's for sure - but I hope and pray that this style never catches on. If every band started doing this, I would definitely be under the assumption that the end of humanity was nigh. People would have just abandoned their ideas of structure completely and all music would just become a big blob of relentless sound. I could literally write a short horror story about it, the end of music as we know it. And these guys would be the clear inspiration for that.
Highlights: Really? (7 Tracks, 29:00)
6/10 (Well, it's certainly different. I'll have to give it one more than mediocre.)
Weapon - Embers And Revelations (2012) - These black thrashers come in with higher and clearer production than most black metal bands, and according to their interviews, they don't care about being raw and kvlt. But at any rate, these guys also don't mind throwing in thrash metal solos and an all around thrash vibe to their black metal. That's all just fine with me. The music is still dark as one would expect, the drums still blast and blast and then some; and the vocals are fierce and deeper than most black metal scowlers.
In all honesty, it's hard for me to not recommend material like this, especially with all of the excitement that builds tracks like "Crepuscular Swamp, Unhinged Swine 5:22" and it's follower, "Liber Lilith 5:05." This is everything I not only expect out of black thrash but black metal to begin with. There's even a light instrumental (with a killer solo) that breaks up the madness, called "Grotesque Carven Portal 2:31." These guys have made it known that they love classic metal solos, and by fuck; they're going to play them.
Weapon is a black metal band that you can bang your fucking head to. Wear that frown all you want and be grim about it, but these guys definitely aren't holding back on their influences. Venom, Dissection and several other classic bands probably had a lot of influence here and this album shows those influences manifest. I'm just kind of pissed that the whole experience is only about forty minutes long. But there is a lot of material covered here, like "Disavowing Each In Aum 5:35" where the drummer is making love to the cymbals, overtop of some great atmospheric riffs. I'm not sure if this album is on anyone's "Best Of" list, but it damn sure should be.
Who would skip out on this one? Yeah. Probably the same idiots who skipped out on Carach Angren, Denial Of God, Sigh, Secrets Of The Moon (Slams Fist Into Wall.) Honestly? Can't you people do your fucking jobs? Converge, really? Sigh put out one of the most interesting and best albums of their career and you idiots didn't even think to nominate them? What about Secrets Of The Moon? What wasn't great about that album? Seriously, tell me you fuckers! Maybe it's because you've all grown complacent. Too much pop-culture and Youtube. Maybe you'd all rather be "Gagnum-Style" than actually listening to real metal music that musicians put their life's blood into.
Guess what else wasn't nominated? Outcast. Has anyone heard that one except for me? Did anyone give a damn? It wiped the floor with Converge. Speaking of deathcore, what about Allageaon? That one skip over you? Borknagar? Yes, one of the best albums from those guys in years... NOT EVEN NOMINATED.
Seriously, did you guys skip some things? Jesus Christ! If you can't do your jobs, I'll just have to make a best of list right here, to show people what they should be checking out. (And no, that's not Asking Alexandria. There are REAL metal musicians out there.)
Candlemass? Shit. I just saw that one. Why in the hell did they not get any mention? Are you people high, or just tired?
At any rate, check out Weapons. And every other fucking band I just named off in a rant. Fucking idiots who can't do their job, and call themselves metal reviewers. But that's what money does, folks! 500.00 to say that Converge is better than fucking Sigh or Secrets Of The Moon or bloody fucking Candlemass's Swansong.
Yeah, I know that Baroness damn near died this year and I feel for them, but that doesn't mean that we should feel the need to give that hipster rock crap they did a high spot in the Album Of The Year. You know what was 2010's disc of the year for Decibel? Agalloch. And why? Because it was fucking good. All these great discs in 2012, and we gave it to musicians that needed a cover story done on them.
BAH! Fuck off and ride your invisible horses! I've got METAL to listen to.
(8 Tracks, 38:00)
Aeternam - Moongod (2012) - These Canadian symphonic death metallers are already known for coming out with a killer debut "Disciples Of The Unseen" back in 2010, and in 2012 we're seeing even greater things. I like how these guys are in fact making a complete mockery of the Muslim belief by singing songs about Hubal, the bad guy in that book. (Allah's the Sun, Hubal is the Moon) But in a way, it's the same thing as Satanic Melodic Death Metal, this is just Huballic Melodic Death Metal. Allah's probably pissed. But other than that, this album is truly killer (and should have been included in the 2012 list) and delivers just what I want to hear out of melodic death metal.
The album definitely has an Arabian feel to it, with "Moongod 5:41" coming in and really taking no prisoners. From the very beginning, you can already tell that this is going to be a melodic death metal disc like no other, and it is. In many ways, the symphonic death metal on this one is on par with Septic Flesh, and I wouldn't say a thing like that if I didn't mean it. This album is replete with so many elements of traditional Arabic music that I would've never believed these guys were from Quebec. Even the clean vocals take a turn into a middle-eastern accent. One of the biggest examples of this is "Iram Of The Pillars 3:53" which is absolutely mesmerizing and works well in the context of this album.
But yes, there are plenty of moments where you can bang your head and "Rise Of Arabia 4:45" will have you doing that, just in case the latter track was too "pretty" for you. At any rate, the way that these guys mix death metal and Arabic folk music together is unparalleled. I just haven't heard it done like this since Orphaned Land. But I have to say that this band is much darker and far more diabolic than those guys, for sure. There's no Christ-like band image here.
I'm going to quit giving you reasons to check this out, because if you haven't and you like truly epic death metal that just sounds in the vein of Septic Flesh; you're only hurting yourself. This is definitely one of my picks for best album of the year and it was also ignored. I mean, what the fuck else did they want these guys to do? Everything here is done to complete perfection. It's absolute death metal with great riffs, melodies, solos, drum-work folk instrumentation, deathy growls, great clean vocal work... the epitome of a great melodic death metal album.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Highlights: ALL (8 Tracks, 45:00)
Sinister - The Carnage Ending (2012) - My first complaint with this album is it's name. Is this Sinister's last disc? The carnage is ending, things are going back to normal. Sorry about that carnage. Really was a pain, wasn't it? We'll never do that again.
Alright, enough wisecracking over the title. This oddly entitled disc is just as good as the band's last death metal opus, "Legacy Of Ashes." Anyone who liked the straightforward death metal of that disc should definitely like this one just as well. The band hits hard and heavy, with the drummer pounding the living hell out of the kit, the frontman performing his deepest guttural growls, and the guitars sounding just as meaty as you'd expect from death metal. This is just the kind of Cannibal Corpse, Deicide style stuff that you want; and yes - those great solos are still there. These guys haven't "forgotten" how to do anything and continue to make the same great death metal that they did last time.
Of course, there are some little bits of technicality and structural changes here and there that keep the album from being boring and we welcome them. But this is still brutal death metal that would sound great on almost any day of the week. If you're looking for music to blow off people's heads to in the world of FPS, then you can't go wrong with this. Plus, let's face it - Linkin Park has no place in a Call Of Duty game where you shoot people in the face. Am I supposed be crying while I'm fragging? No. I'm supposed to go in there like the Doom marine and wipe Borderlands 2's ass with my all the fucking guns that they gave me to clean it with. And I'm not going to do that to silence or cheap fucking atmospheres. No, I'm going to go through Pandora blasting the shit out of this record.
Sinsier's new disc hits harder, has cleaner production and just sounds more fucking brutal. There's no love ballads or beautiful melodic leads - it's just death, death, death, and more fucking death.
Do you like death metal?
Oh, you do? Well, you need to get this album.
Do the drums blast furiously with no remorse?
Does the guitar sound rough and meaty?
Are the solos fast and killer?
Does the frontman growl throughout the whole thing, and does he sound really fucking angry, like there's a stick shoved up his ass?
Is there some technicality in the record, but it's much heavier than what Gojira would do with it?
Yes. It's still brutal as hell.
So in answering all of those questions, one can assume that this is a death metal album of the highest order of brutality with a few bells and whistles of modern technicality, but not enough to make you forget that it is a death metal album, not a technical death metal album, not a melodic death metal album, not a deathcore album... but a DEATH METAL ALBUM.
There. That's all I've got to say. Get your fucking hands on it and bang your head or kill shit on some FPS. Just don't murder your neighbor or anything. Because that fucking sucks. Heard about some 17 year old chick that murdered an 80 year old dude as he was taking a walk, on the news. While that sounds brutal, keep in mind that it's also pretty fucked up. But if you're going to beat a poor old man to death, this would be a good soundtrack for that.
Even though you've got to be a sick fuck, regardless. Might just want to stick to FPS. That way, you wont be jailed or possibly even executed.
Did I mention this album has some great fucking solos?
(11 Tracks, 45:00)
(Had to include this, too. It's the band. Now there's something you don't see everyday.)
Troglodyte - Don't Go Into The Woods (2012) - Though this isn't a long album, it hits fucking hard. Troglodyte is one of those bands I decided to check out on a whim and am quite thankful for the opportunity. From the start of the disc several bands come to me - Cannibal Corpse being the most prevalent. Having plowed through their entire discography not but just a few months ago, as soon as I heard "Crippled Foot Cast 2:21" the only thing that I could think of was Cannibal Corpse's 1996 disc, "Vile." The song lengths are round-about the same as well, with no song even coming close to the four minute mark. But for some of you, you might feel that you're hearing a Corpse-clone and I honestly cannot blame you there. After all, the band released a new album this year that proves it to be just as good as anything else they've released.
At any rate, these guys know what they're doing and don't seem to care. They do it well, and happily emulate all the best of Cannibal Corpse. Of course, there are subtle differences where the band puts more technicality into their music like in "Murderous Bi-Pedal Hominid Rampage (Where Are My Legs?) 3:10" which includes one of the few solos that you'll hear on the disc. This continues on "Sasquatch Ocean 1:58" and further on into the album. I think that the band differentiated their sound in this second half of the disc, so that people wouldn't call them a Corpse-clone.
Then we've got "Don't Got Into the Woods 2:10" which has a slightly different approach and features a guest screamer, and "Minnesota Iceman Cometh 3:24" which has a slightly bluesy feel. And I'm curious as to whether or not "Oregon Trail 2:10" is a death metal song based on the horrible things that could happen to one in the game, or the real thing. (For those of you who've never played the Oregon Trail, it's now on your tablet devices.)
At any rate, this Bigfoot inspired death metal is definitely worth checking out. it's different in some ways, despite how much they copied Cannibal Corpse in the beginning. But if not for the evolution in the latter part pf the disc, this could've really gone downhill fast. Chances are that you're not familiar with this band, so go check them out if you're interested. Hits and misses, but all around good death metal.
(13 Tracks, 28:00)
The Fusion Syndicate - The Fusion Syndicate (2012) - The Fusion Syndicate is a progressive rock project from many different individuals (go check out the band's info for a complete list of them all) but despite the excitement that you might first get from this album, you'll soon become rather bored with it's instrumental theatrics and begin to wonder why it all starts sounding like elevator music, or the music that companies play when you're on hold. In effect, it's the equivalent of being on hold for nearly an hour. But the clincher there is, that you're not actually waiting for a customer service representative; you're listening to it of your own free will.
All joking aside, there are some really great things done on the album and it does feature some good guitar work in addition to the other myriads of instruments on the disc. While the first three tracks on the disc feature a good bit of prog rock, the saxophone and acoustic guitar of "Particle Accelerations" makes me think of the music they play on your "Featured Free-Preview" channel with DISH, or the music that the Weather Channel plays while they show you different forecasts, and you're waiting for your own. I also get the same feel from "Atom Smashing 7:33" and the closer, "In The Spirit Of... 7:15"
There are small bursts of excitement here and there, but I just feel that too much is going on at one time and nothing gets fully realized. For example, a great guitar solo comes in backed by a synth and seems like it's going to explode until it's just replaced with a very stale saxophone piece that honestly sounds like a channel that is having temporary difficulties, or is moving.
I wanted to like this, because I have respect for some of the musicians on it; but I honestly don't expect to hear this anywhere else except as temp music for businesses.
(7 Tracks, 52:00)
Dreamscar - Dreamscar (2009) - The reason why I chose to review this hard to find first album from Dreamscar, is first because it's altogether different from the album they put out this year. While it still has that modern metal influence, it's myriads heavier and features a female vocalist on the choruses. One thing about this disc is how striking it reminds me of my first band, Shadowed Sun. We were making this kind of music (mixing extreme metal with female vocals) back around this same time (2009) and I've got a demo somewhere that I can use to prove it to you.
But other than that, these guys fully realized and released the same kind of music that we tried to complete back then (we had plenty of completed songs too) so in a way, I'm vicariously hearing what would've been through them. They always say that there's always somebody out there who's doing the same thing that you are even though you don't know it; and this proves it. Granted we never used pianos like these guys do (because I don't know how to fucking play one) but as far as the groove metal elements, thunderous drumming and the vocal that focuses more on a sort of scowl (that would be me) coupled with a clean female vocal (that would be our female vocalist) it's very close. I still think we would've been much heavier though - as we shed off that band to form the blackened thrash/groove band Unholy Sacrifice shortly after that.
But despite how much this raw quality (which is close to what our demo sounded like) reminds me of our old band's work, I still think this material is ten times superior to the crap that this band released in 2012, and I would gladly tell them that. Obviously, the band is getting somewhat famous and that "changed" the style of this band to something more poppy. I'll be honest, I had to fight some torrents in order to get this one, but it's so hard to find anywhere else. Of course, on that new album; there also isn't a female vocalist so the frontman had to clean sing. Not only that, this album is much heavier than the shit they released this year.
One more thing. My lyrics were also much more poetic than some of this shit.
“The City Of Dis”
I can no longer hear the whispers of nature
All I can feel are cold machines
The capitalist gods, and the working parts
Who die and are easily replaced
They are emotionless in the eyes of society
They are worthless in the eyes of the conglomerate
They are puppets in the eyes of the media
They are fools in the eyes of the ancients
We are trapped in a fool’s utopia
Any man worth his merit would realize this fact
Nature has been replaced by the building
But the building can only stand for so long
Look at them, brainwashed by the media
They aren’t concerned of the outside world
They let the walls of this city entrap them
These buildings never crumble
See them wandering, looking for happiness
These buildings never crumble
See them all obsessed, lost in their pathetic fucking lives
Pathetic fucking lives
Wondering what to buy, what to try and how to lie
A hellish monotony for all time
I could see the demon’s metal eyes
Her mechanic cackle echoed in the night
They are lost in their wants
Consumed by their greed
I awoke from my dream, to realize that I was not asleep
This was not a nightmare, it was reality
See the buildings growing taller
Covering Sophia’s light from their eyes
Pathetic fucking lives
Still see them wandering
Still enclosed by the walls
Trapped by Medusa’s gaze
Their fucking pathetic lies
There’s no sign of happiness
Trapped in the City of Dis for all eternity
See what I mean?
The chorus on that track was dual with both female and male vocals (male vocals were scowled) and there's was a lot of groove and heaviness in the track. People told me it would've made a great "hit" song, but nonetheless the project fell through and this one survived to do roundabout the same thing. Luck of the draw, I guess.
At any rate, I would most certainly recommend this disc over the band's new effort, as it was much more realized and "metal" than the Nu-Metal territory that they broke into recently. What they need to do is go back and re-record some of this stuff (there's definitely some fuzz in the recording) and find a new female vocalist, (can't be too hard - they're in fucking Vegas for crying out loud) then call it an album. Definitely some promise here. But I have no idea why bands wimp out and start playing contemporary crap. If you're going to be metal, you should play metal, not Linkin Park meets metal. No one wants to hear that.
Definitely check this one out, but keep in mind that it is modern metal.
(10 Tracks, 42:00)